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February 8: back on the chemocoaster...

There are better ways to keep yourself occupied than being sick and tired. But it's something to do.

I started my new chemo regime this week and, to be honest, it's not too bad. Now the surgery is out of the way and I'm a lot better after it, it was obviously time for me to have something else to keep me feeling a bit crap. And so I'm back for a wee whirl on the Chemocoaster here in the Tumourland Fun Park.

I've been on worse rides. As with last year's Temozolomide regime, I get to take my chemo at home in capsule format, which seems so much less unpleasant than for those with other cancers who need to go to hospital to sit for hours with a venom sac attached to a vein as its contents drain a trail of burning destruction into their circulation. True, I don't feel exactly lovely, and there is a bit of a balancing act to be done to keep the contents of my stomach on the inside, but this is so much kinder.

The particular flavours of chemo I'm getting this time make up a combination treatment under which two separate harsh chemicals gang up to give whatever remains of the tumoury stuff a tanking, and stop it growing back. I assume one of them holds its arms. Since my blood tests were all OK, I kicked off on Tuesday as planned with an evening pile of capsules containing a drug called Lomustine which is taken as a one-off at the start of the cycle. That went without incident, and I got a perfectly good night's sleep, so Wednesday took me into phase two, fun with Procarbazine. This one I need to take daily for ten days and that, frankly, is a bugger, since it seems to be unable to play nicely with any of my favourite foods, not to mention a few others I don't even normally eat, just for good measure. So, no alcohol, particularly red wine, no cheese, no patés, no meats prepared with cures, smoking or marinades, no yeast extracts (which rules out a lot of gravies and sauces, apparently), no bananas or avocados, and quite a few other things TBC apparently – the list seems to vary from source to source.

I found one on Wednesday, I think, when reckoning that a wee ham omelette would be a carefully light lunch. I found that the apparently uncured and guaranteed allergen-free ham definitely had something else in it. Cue 12 hours of stomach pain. I felt much better at 2am on Thursday when I was eventually violently sick. At least that was some 18 hours after my last round of chemo, so I didn't lose any of that, which is the main concern with all this.

Thursday and today, however, went pretty well. Each day began with a cheeky wee early-morning anti-emetic, a half-hour wait for that to kick in, a handful of Procarbazine capsules, a wait for an hour or so to make sure that had all settled, then my usual Losec and Keppra and dex regime. Then a wee treat in the shape of some toast. It's been a gastronomic journey.

My stomach feels more than a little sensitive, but it's not too bad. And I had a pretty good dinner tonight – woo for lamb chops! With luck things are normalising, as long as I'm careful. I hope so, I've got a week of this still to go.

Still, it's only for ten days every six weeks and, as with the Temozolomide, once I'm used to it I should be able to go to work through the cycles.

What's more, tomorrow I get to try a different anti-emetic. There is no end to this adventure.

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